Soviet production and upkeep was assisted by the Lend-Lease program from the United States and the United Kingdom. Source: L. E. Reshin, "Year of 1941", vol. It was known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union and some of its successor states, while everywhere else it was called the Eastern Front. [61] In all, 5.2 million foreign workers and POWs were repatriated to the Soviet Union, 1.6 million to Poland, 1.5 million to France, and 900,000 to Italy, along with 300,000 to 400,000 each to Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Belgium. The two principal belligerent powers were Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. The overall objective according to Zhukov was the "subsequent encirclement and destruction of the enemy's main forces in the area of Rzhev, Vyazma and Smolensk. The Germans, on the other hand, could rely on a large slave workforce from the conquered countries and Soviet POWs. But the Germans maintained their hold on the main bastions of their winter front—such towns as Schlüsselburg, Novgorod, Rzhev, Vyazma, Bryansk, Orël (Oryol), Kursk, Kharkov, and Taganrog—despite the fact that the Soviets had often advanced many miles beyond these bastions, which were in effect cut off. In a speech at the Berlin Sportpalast on 3 October, he announced, "We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf (1925) for the necessity of Lebensraum ("living space"): acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, in particular Russia. The Anglo-Soviet agreement of July 12, 1941, pledged the signatory powers to assist one another and to abstain from making any separate peace with Germany. Micheal Clodfelter, Warfare and Armed Conflicts, p. 449, Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, 50th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide protests, Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, On the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia, German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement, the north and northeastern regions of Romania, Germany–Soviet Union relations, 1918–1941, program aiming to exterminate all European Jews, treaties of mutual assistance with France, during a short period of Nazi–Soviet economic collaboration, bombing of the eastern German city of Dresden, an attempt to cripple Romanian oil production, Forced labour under German rule during World War II, Strategic operations of the Red Army in World War II, fierce Soviet resistance in the Smolensk area, NKVD massacred thousands of anti-Soviet prisoners, intelligence that Japan would remain neutral, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Großdeutschland Panzergrenadier divisions, re-establishment of Estonian independence, terrain not suitable for large-scale operations, offensive to capture central Germany and Berlin, German front lines on the Oder and Neisse rivers, rapid industrialisation of the Soviet Union, German war crimes against Soviet civilians, Soviet Union manufactured 24,089 tanks and self-propelled guns, World War II casualties of the Soviet Union, Timeline of the Eastern Front of World War II, Occupation of Baltic republics by Nazi Germany, Italian participation in the Eastern Front, Soviet occupation of the Baltic states (1940), Soviet occupation of the Baltic states (1944), List of military operations on the Eastern Front of World War II, A Japanese plan to invade the Soviet Far East in 1941, Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism, "The Eastern Front: The Germans and Soviets at War in World War II", The term 'habitat' in Hitler's 'Mein Kampf', "Speech of the Reichsfuehrer-SS at the meeting of SS Major-Generals at Posen 4 October 1943", "The Wannsee Conference, the Fate of German Jews, and Hitler's Decision in Principle to Exterminate All European Jews", Adolf Hitler's Speech on Operation Barbarossa, "The Myth of German Superiority on the WW2 Eastern Front", "Employment and living standards - Life in Nazi Germany, 1933-1939 - OCR B - GCSE History Revision - OCR B", "China today is foreign oil dependent like Germany in WW2 | Peak Oil News and Message Boards", "Swedish iron ore exports to Germany, 1933–44", "Stalin and the Prospects of a Separate Peace in World War II", "The Otto Tief government and the fall of Tallinn", "The Crisis Deepens: The Outbreak of World War II", "The Executive of the Presidents Soviet Protocol Committee (Burns) to the President's Special Assistant (Hopkins)", "ПРИКАЗ О РАСФОРМИРОВАНИИ ОТДЕЛЬНЫХ ЗАГРАДИТЕЛЬНЫХ ОТРЯДОВ", "The Nazi struggle against Soviet partisans", Partisan Resistance in Belarus during World War II, "Nazi Persecution of Soviet Prisoners of War", "German military deaths to all causes EF", "Die deutschen Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg", Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492–2015, 4th ed. In September and October 1939 the Soviet government compelled the much smaller Baltic states to conclude mutual assistance pacts which gave the Soviets the right to establish military bases there. [77] This began the 900-day Siege of Leningrad. After four days the Red Army broke out and started moving thirty to forty kilometres a day, taking the Baltic states, Danzig, East Prussia, Poznań, and drawing up on a line sixty kilometres east of Berlin along the River Oder. The Germans rushed to transfer troops to the Soviet Union in a desperate attempt to relieve Stalingrad, but the offensive could not get going until 12 December, by which time the 6th Army in Stalingrad was starving and too weak to break out towards it. Two per cent of civilians and 14 per cent of the POWs were sent to the Gulag.[127][128]. This included the terrorisation of their own people, as well as mass deportations of entire populations. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, Forces and resources of the European combatants, 1939, The Baltic states and the Russo-Finnish War, 1939–40, The war in the west, September 1939–June 1940, The invasion of the Low Countries and France, Italy’s entry into the war and the French Armistice, The Atlantic and the Mediterranean, 1940–41, Pearl Harbor and the Japanese expansion, to July 1942, Developments from autumn 1941 to spring 1942, Allied strategy and controversies, 1940–42, The Germans’ summer offensive in southern Russia, 1942, The Solomons, Papua, Madagascar, the Aleutians, and Burma, July 1942–May 1943, Montgomery’s Battle of el-Alamein and Rommel’s retreat, 1942–43, Stalingrad and the German retreat, summer 1942–February 1943, The invasion of northwest Africa, November–December 1942, The Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the North Sea, 1942–45, The Eastern Front, February–September 1943, The Southwest and South Pacific, June–October 1943, The Allied landings in Europe and the defeat of the Axis powers, Developments from autumn 1943 to summer 1944, Sicily and the fall of Mussolini, July–August 1943, The Allies’ invasion of Italy and the Italian volte-face, 1943, The western Allies and Stalin: Cairo and Tehrān, 1943, The Eastern Front, October 1943–April 1944, The war in the Pacific, October 1943–August 1944, The Burmese frontier and China, November 1943–summer 1944, Developments from summer 1944 to autumn 1945, The Allied invasions of western Europe, June–November 1944, Allied policy and strategy: Octagon (Quebec II) and Moscow, 1944, The Philippines and Borneo, from September 1944, The German offensive in the west, winter 1944–45, The Soviet advance to the Oder, January–February 1945, The end of the Japanese war, February–September 1945. During the war, as Germany acquired new territories (either by direct annexation or by installing puppet governments in defeated countries), these new territories were forced to sell raw materials and agricultural products to German buyers at extremely low prices. At Minsk they converged with Hoth’s tanks, which had pierced the opposite flank, but Bock’s infantry could not follow up quickly enough to complete the encirclement of the Soviet troops in the area; though 300,000 prisoners were taken in the salient, a large part of the Soviet forces was able to escape to the east. The Soviet victory owed a great deal to the ability of its war industry to outperform the German economy, despite the enormous loss of population and land. It was by far the deadliest single theatre of the European portion of World War II with up to 8.7 - 10 million military deaths on the Soviet side (although, depending on the criteria used, casualties in the Far East theatre may have been similar in number). In June 1940 the Soviet Union occupied and illegally annexed the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). "[67], At 03:15 on 22 June 1941, 99 of 190 German divisions, including fourteen panzer divisions and ten motorised, were deployed against the Soviet Union from the Baltic to the Black Sea. 3,878,000 were deployed in eastern Europe, 311,000 in Norway/Denmark, 1,873,000 in western Europe, 961,000 in Italy, and 826,000 in the Balkans. One week into the German invasion, 150,000 Soviet soldiers were either dead or wounded - more than during the five months of the Battle of the Somme. [132], Germany had far greater resources than did the USSR, and dwarfed its production in every matrix except for oil, having over five times the USSR's coal production, over three times its iron production, three times its steel production, twice its electricity production, and about 2/3 of its oil production.[133]. That is to say not every fourth inhabitant but almost 40% of the pre-war Belarusian population perished (considering the present-day borders of Belarus). Jatkosodan pikkujättiläinen (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Subsequently, when Germany in its turn surrendered to the Allies (November 1918) and these territories became independent states under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 at Versailles, Soviet Russia was in the midst of a civil war and the Allies did not recognise the Bolshevik government, so no Soviet Russian representation attended.[7]. [116], The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were both ideologically driven states (by Soviet communism and by Nazism respectively), in which the foremost political leaders had near-absolute power. The German plan of campaign had begun to miscarry in August 1941, and its failure was patent when the Soviet counteroffensive started. In addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War is generally also considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front. The German attack on the Soviet Union was to have an immediate and highly salutary effect on Great Britain’s situation. Germany had been assembling very large numbers of troops in eastern Poland and making repeated reconnaissance flights over the border; the Soviet Union responded by assembling its divisions on its western border, although the Soviet mobilisation was slower than Germany's due to the country's less dense road network. [17], Hitler referred to the war in radical terms, calling it a "war of annihilation" (Vernichtungskrieg) which was both an ideological and racial war. Although the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention (1929), it is generally accepted that it considered itself bound by the provisions of the Hague convention. I need the Ukraine so that they can't starve us out, as happened in the last war. Ulrich Herbert, "Forced Laborers in the 'Third Reich'", CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, harvnb error: multiple targets (5×): CITEREFKrivosheev1997 (, sfn error: no target: CITEREFGlantz2005 (, ("Военно-исторический журнал" ("Military-Historical Magazine"), 1997, №5. Axis troops who captured Red Army soldiers frequently shot them in the field or shipped them to concentration camps to be used as forced labourers or killed. In the Ukraine, meanwhile, Rundstedt and Kleist had made short work of the foremost Soviet defenses, stronger though the latter had been. Meanwhile, Germany had been cut off from foreign trade for years by the time it invaded the USSR, was in the middle of two extended and costly theatres at air and sea that further limited production (Battle of the Atlantic and Defence of the Reich), and was forced to devote a large segment of its expenditures to goods the Soviets could cut back on (such as trucks) or which would never even be used against the Soviets (such as ships). Ten days later the Red Army reached the prewar Polish border. The first three months of the German–Soviet conflict produced cautious rapprochements between the U.S.S.R. and Great Britain and between the U.S.S.R. and the United States. The extent of warnings received by Stalin about a German invasion is controversial, and the claim that there was a warning that "Germany will attack on 22 June without declaration of war" has been dismissed as a "popular myth". International Military Tribunal at Nurnberg, Germany. The fall of Königsberg allowed Stavka to free up General Konstantin Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front (2BF) to move west to the east bank of the Oder. An invasion is a military offensive in which sizable … While this redeployment was in progress, gaps were left in the lines and the remnants of the German 2nd Army, which had been bottled up in a pocket near Danzig, managed to escape across the Oder. World War II - World War II - Invasion of the Soviet Union, 1941: For the campaign against the Soviet Union, the Germans allotted almost 150 divisions containing a total of about 3,000,000 men. Himmler pronounced a plan according to which ​3⁄4 of the Belarusian population was designated for "eradication" and ​1⁄4 of the racially 'cleaner' population (blue eyes, light hair) would be allowed to serve Germans as slaves. 1944–1951 годы // История СССР. This figure represents a total of 45–57% of all Soviet POWs and may be contrasted with 8,300 out of 231,000 British and U.S. prisoners, or 3.6%. [44] About 15–20% of total German strength were foreign troops (from allied countries or conquered territories). Katyn massacre. Romania supplied Germany and its allies with roughly 13 million barrels of oil (about 4 million per year) between 1941 and 1943. On December 2 a further effort was launched, and some German detachments penetrated into the suburbs of Moscow; but the advance as a whole was held up in the forests covering the capital. However, following the decisive Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943 and the resulting dire German military situation, Nazi propaganda began to portray the war as a German defence of Western civilisation against destruction by the vast "Bolshevik hordes" that were pouring into Europe. Soon after that, the Soviet Union demanded significant territorial concessions from Finland, and after Finland rejected Soviet demands, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 in what became known as the Winter War – a bitter conflict that resulted in a peace treaty on 13 March 1940, with Finland maintaining its independence but losing its eastern parts in Karelia.[10]. On 31 January 1943, the 90,000 survivors of the 300,000-man 6th Army surrendered. The offensive at Estonia claimed another 480,000 Soviet soldiers, 100,000 of them classed as dead. Operation Barbarossa: How Hitler Betrayed Stalin (And Lost WWII) Barbarossa was eventually defeated, but not until four years had passed and tens of … The Soviet Union offered support to the partisans in many Wehrmacht-occupied countries in Central Europe, notably those in Slovakia, Poland. Anti-Soviet Finland, which had fought the Winter War against the Soviet Union, also joined the offensive. When the Red Army invaded Germany in 1944, many German civilians suffered from reprisals by Red Army soldiers (see Soviet war crimes). [85] A simultaneous offensive on the Rzhev sector known as Operation Mars was supposed to advance to Smolensk, but was a costly failure, with German tactical defences preventing any breakthrough. As in the Sino-Soviet conflict on the Chinese Eastern Railway or Soviet–Japanese border conflicts, Soviet troops on the western border received a directive, signed by Marshal Semyon Timoshenko and General of the Army Georgy Zhukov, that ordered (as demanded by Stalin): "do not answer to any provocations" and "do not undertake any (offensive) actions without specific orders" – which meant that Soviet troops could open fire only on their soil and forbade counter-attack on German soil. By 1946, 80 per cent of civilians and 20 per cent of POWs were freed, others were re-drafted, or sent to labour battalions. In May Bolsheviks tried to seize power in Tbilisi but failed. Behind the front lines, atrocities against civilians in German-occupied areas were routine, including those carried out as part of the Holocaust. The Soviet tanks were about equal to those of the Germans, however. The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran or Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia was the joint invasion of Iran by the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union in August 1941. The destruction of the Soviet Union by military force, the permanent elimination of the perceived Communist threat to Germany, and the seizure of prime land within Soviet borders for long-term German settlement had been core policy of the Nazi movement since the 1920s. The grand plan was to secure the Don and Volga first and then drive into the Caucasus towards the oil fields, but operational considerations and Hitler's vanity made him order both objectives to be attempted simultaneously. [84]:58–59, The Wehrmacht rallied, retaining a salient at Rzhev. Many hundreds of thousands of Soviet civilians were executed, and millions more died from starvation as the Germans requisitioned food for their armies and fodder for their draft horses. In areas such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (which had been annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940) the Wehrmacht was tolerated by a relatively more significant part of the native population. Civilian deaths totalled 15.9 million, which included 1.5 million from military actions; 7.1 million victims of Nazi genocide and reprisals; 1.8 million deported to Germany for forced labour; and 5.5 million famine and disease deaths. Their progress, however, was rather slow, and they took heavy casualties in a major tank battle. The Germans’ summer offensive in southern Russia, 1942 The German plan to launch another great summer offensive crystallized in the early months of 1942. It included the phrase All forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European time on 8 May 1945. Instead, the Nazi ideologues saw the future of the East as one of settlement by German colonists, with the natives killed, expelled, or reduced to slave labour. On 9 April 1945, Königsberg in East Prussia finally fell to the Red Army, although the shattered remnants of Army Group Centre continued to resist on the Vistula Spit and Hel Peninsula until the end of the war in Europe. Until then Britain’s prospects had appeared hopeless in the eyes of most people except the British themselves; and the government’s decision to continue the struggle after the fall of France and to reject Hitler’s peace offers could spell only slow suicide unless relief came from either the United States or the U.S.S.R. Hitler brought Great Britain relief by turning eastward and invading the Soviet Union just as the strain on Britain was becoming severe. Having already isolated the Crimea by severing the Perekop isthmus, Malinovsky's forces advanced across the mud to the Romanian border, not stopping on the river Prut. On 30 March the Red Army entered Austria and captured Vienna on 13 April. 2, p. 152. Most of those who joined were Soviet POWs. Naval vessels alone constituted 10–15% of Germany's war expenditures from 1940 to 1944 depending on the year, while armoured vehicles by comparison were only 5–8%.[135]. A greater hindrance to Hitler’s chances of victory was that the German intelligence service underestimated the troop reserves that Stalin could bring up from the depths of the U.S.S.R. For nearly two years the border was quiet while Germany conquered Denmark, Norway, France, the Low Countries, and the Balkans. 023, 4 February 1944), the irretrievable casualties include killed, missing, those who died due to war-time or subsequent wounds, maladies and chilblains and those who were captured. Rostov was recaptured on 24 July when the 1st Panzer Army joined in, and then that group drove south towards Maikop. In 1943, there were more than 2,000 female Soviet snipers in the Red Army. After heavy fighting in the battles of Tali-Ihantala and Ilomantsi, Finnish troops finally managed to halt the Soviet attack. He later told Erhard Milch: I had to act ruthlessly. The advance into the Caucasus bogged down, with the Germans unable to fight their way past Malgobek and to the main prize of Grozny. During the Warsaw Uprising, the Red Army were ordered to halt at the Vistula River. [110] It involved more land combat than all other World War II theatres combined. Washington, 1947. The war ended on 9 May 1945, when Germany's armed forces surrendered unconditionally following the Battle of Berlin (also known as the Berlin Offensive), a strategic operation executed by the Red Army. К вопросу о репатриации советских граждан. 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